A Relationship That Can Thrive

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Let's find out how psychology and romance collide! One of New Vista's Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists, Andi Bruhn, comes on the show to discuss attachment theory and knowing your own attachment style. What does finding "the one" really mean? How can you be on the lookout for red flags and green flags? Are there some key elements to a healthy romantic relationship that we should look for and develop? Find the answers to these pressing questions and more in this jam-packed episode!


Kevin Wallace: 0:12 Hey friends, welcome to the good ahead podcast where we host conversations in the areas of mental health, substance use and intellectual and developmental disabilities. I'm your host Kevin Wallace with New Vista. And today we are talking relationships. We invited on one of New Vista's Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Andi Brune, who serves as our guide in the conversation of love. So where do you even begin in this oftentimes overwhelming journey of finding a suitable partner? And we've all heard it before, but is there such a thing as "the one." We dig into the importance of understanding attachment theory, knowing your own attachment style and your partner's, how to be on the lookout for red flags and green flags, and what makes for a healthy romantic relationship? So without further ado, let's dig in. Okay, well welcome in! Today, we will be talking about relationships, and how relationships can thrive. And tis the season of love with, with Valentine's Day coming up, and so we thought this would be a timely episode, but today we have in with us Andi Bruhn, and she is the Director of Outpatient Substance Use Disorder Services, that's SUD services at Mechanic Street at New Vista. And so we are so glad and thrilled to have Andi here with us to talk about relationships. And so welcome in.

Andi Bruhn: 1:52 Thank you. Thanks, Kevin. I'm also a marriage and family therapist, which is why I'm actually qualified to discuss

Kevin Wallace: 2:00 on this show today. Yes, that is important to mention as well. Yes. So you are the expert in love.

Andi Bruhn: 2:08 Oh, gosh, I don't know if we want to go that far. But we'll call it that if we yeah,

Kevin Wallace: 2:14 yes. So today, we're just going to talk about how we can best function in our relationship, romantic relationships, as we we get into those. So yeah, I would love to just open it up and hear your thoughts on how you know, how you know you're ready to get into relationship, like what's a good starting point? For I guess, really just knowing yourself getting into a relationship?

Andi Bruhn: 2:41 Okay, so I think that's a, it's a hard question, right? Because partially, I think you can't really know yourself in a relationship without being in them. And so I think the risk that you run is not necessarily in dating, but in, in committing, so I think in dating you, you have a flexibility. And if you're clear, then you can make it kind of a trial and error thing. And I think really, the error comes when people can't do that anymore. And commitment comes way too early. Right. So we have to differentiate dating and commitment. Because I think dating, even from you know, I have a third grade boy, right? And like, he has a girlfriend. And what that means to him, you know, it means that they like, talk to each other more than the other girls and boys. But so I'm not and I don't freak out about that because it really is kind of all practice. It's the commitment. That's the issue. You know, it's like dating is okay. Yeah, meaning that's a difference.

Kevin Wallace: 3:44 Yeah, the long term relationship for a third grader is probably not going to be there. Right.

Andi Bruhn: 3:48 Right. Right. And nor, you know, like, but could he have some sort of experience in this mild encounter that might guide him later? He might, you know, and he might figure out that this girl was too much or too little, or I don't know, a little I don't even know what he's looking for it at, you know, the ripe age of nine. But yeah, he might learn something, you know. And so I think that differentiating between dating and commitment is important. But Disney hasn't done us any favors, right? And so like, we go into dating, hoping to commit. And that's where we get all mixed up. It's like, if you see six red flags, you should be out in dating, right? Yeah. But we try to commit and so then we try to like, ignore them, right? I don't see those red flags, what color? You know? And it's like, no, no, there were there. So now we don't commit. And that's really like where we struggle, I think is not not necessarily Am I ready to date? Everybody's ready to date in some capacity. Yeah. Am I ready to commit? Like, that's a different question. And I think really, that that's the one that people.. dating does not mean commitment. We got to learn that.

Kevin Wallace: 4:57 Yeah, that's a good point. And you may and Disney's not doing us any any favors with the way that they're portraying, I guess love and the fairy tale that is that that is the romance of finding your prince or princess and fighting for them and

Andi Bruhn: 5:15 Right, right. So this whole fighting for them notion, I'm not really sure where that got started. But I'm like, Why? Why so many people are trying to fight for people? And I'm like, but but are is are there kids involved? Do we have financial entanglements? You know, those things require a fight, right. But so often it's like, I've had a fight for a relationship, and it's like, but do you? Is it? Is it the relationship that you want? Because if not, now, you're fighting for a relationship? That wasn't adequate anyways. So what are you doing other than spinning your wheels? You know? So I think, yeah, so Disney gives us this notion that we all you know, we are all going to have a soulmate. And that it's going to be really hard, and that we should fight through that for that one soulmate. None of that's true, I don't think, personally, you know. You might find somebody that that disagrees with that and thinks that there's that one human being on this planet for us. But I don't, I don't necessarily think that that's true. And I think that if it were that we probably shouldn't have to like go to war, right, to get this person's attention.

Kevin Wallace: 6:18 Exactly. Gosh, that's, that's a great point. I want to back up a little bit. And we can we can talk about the red flags, because I think that's gonna be a huge part of the conversation as well. Sure. So let's talk about knowing yourself going into relationship. So say you want to get into a committed relationship with somebody. Attachment theory is huge. When when it comes to finding somebody that is suitable and learning how to work through certain things that fighting for that person, and for yourself, for your own well being for that person's well being. So let's talk about the attachment, attachment styles,

Andi Bruhn: 6:58 The attachment stuff, let's talk about attachment that, the attachment stuff. So attachment has been around and researched since forever, forever being like the 60s is when it started. And we started looking at it with kids, right babies, and we did experiments on babies, which everybody hates, but I promise they weren't cruel, all these babies made it out. Yes. But they told us a lot about how people behave in relationships. And we still talk about it. It's one of the only theories that I've ever heard in my time in psychology, like we should just call it attachment science. Now. We shouldn't call it theory and Right, right, we just because it's been so robustly supported, yes. But the theory would hold that, essentially, we get these attachment styles in childhood. And for the most part, they're pretty stable. And so what are they we, and our field hasn't done anything for people to understand this, like we call them something different, and childhood and adulthood, even though they're the same thing. Yeah. We poorly advertise this theory, for lack of a better word. And so like, nobody really understands it, but

Kevin Wallace: 7:58 Yeah there's not a huge awareness for this thing that's very deeply integrated in every person.

Andi Bruhn: 8:04 Right. Right. And it's, um, and if you really dive into attachment, it makes sense why? Right, like, so we have to seek proximity, get closer to somebody when we're distressed. And then when we're not distressed, we have to be able to go explore our world, right? And if I say that, like that, that makes sense. Okay, so if I can do that, so if I can hang out with Kevin and we can be close to each other and an intimate, not in a sexual sense, but in a emotional sense, then I can also leave Kevin and I can go out in the hallway and talk to some other people and do my own thing and then if, if bad things happen, I can still run back to Kevin Right. But I don't need to be with Kevin 24 hours a day to be okay. Yeah. And that, that's what attachment is all about. It's about learning where you are in relation to other people. So there's four different styles. There's, and we're gonna go with the adult names because we're talking dating here when you're talking mom, right? And so dismissive is one of them, is what it sounds like, right? A dismissive person, the relationships gonna struggle with intimacy of any kind. They're like, I'm fine, right? Yeah, you're fine. They're gonna like shut down, right? And an argument they're gonna take off. They don't want to talk about it. And then when they come back, though, they still don't want to talk about it. It's not that they needed to cool down, right. dismissive people, they just don't want to talk about your feelings. Yeah, it's hard for them. Right. It's never been something that they liked. So it's not something that they're gonna want in a relationship. So that's a dismissive person. Okay, then we've got a preoccupied person, which is what it sounds like. You're preoccupied with the relationship, right? AKA clingy. Yeah. And that's the word clingers. Everybody knows that one, right. So we've got these people who are clingy and they you know, I think most people have had an interaction with clingy individuals and if you are a clingy individual, more power to you, but you need to know that if you're a clingy person, you need to find a clingy person. So it's those are preoccupied with relationships. If I'm not with you, I think you're gonna leave me. Right. That's the notion there. And so the dismissive person's like, if we get too close, I feel threatened. That preoccupied person's like, if we're too far apart, I feel threatened. Yeah. And then they're secure, right? Which is boring. That's like, Okay, fine. Fine. I can be with you or without you. Right? Yeah. And then there's this, the fourth one, we call it Category D. I know, Like I said, We haven't done a lot of favors for people in

Kevin Wallace: 10:31 The mysterious category D. defining these things. And that one, you know, I would wager we're not going to talk about for the most part, it's because it's so rare, and it's just the result of some really sad situations. So, if you're listening to a podcast about how to have a healthy relationship, you're not in Category D, for the most part. Category D usually comes from severe mental illness, severe substance use disorder households, and they just don't have any roadmap. So it's not like, in a relationship, they don't know how to behave, you know, at least the dismissive or the preoccupied person has some sort of roadmap. Category D, however, they don't have one. It's just a no relationship has ever been safe for them. So is it that they don't know what they're threatened by or that everything is threatening to them?

Andi Bruhn: 11:25 Well, it's, it's that as a child, the parent was usually the source of support and the source of fear, okay, so it's that that same, so it's like, we call it approach avoidance, right? Approach avoidance behavior, like, hey, I wanna hang out, I want to hang out, I want to hang out. And then it's like, okay, let's set a time. And it's like, oh, you know what, I'm busy. But you just texted me 14 times that you wanted to hang out. And then I showed interest, and now you don't? That's that kind of approach avoidance that typically happens in individuals with that kind of instability early on, because they just, there's no go to. So like, with a dismissive person, they're taught really early, like, even if I cry, nobody's coming. Right? So I'm gonna stop crying. Yeah, uhm and preoccupied people are typically taught, like, you need me for everything. Right? So it's I'm coming when you cry about anything, yeah, um, and so with Category D, they just didn't have any of it. And it's really rare. Less than 5% of the population is in Category D, right? 62% is in secure, secure. Yeah. And then the other 44 ish is kind of split back and forth between preoccupied and dismissive, depending on what study you're looking at. Yeah, yeah. So most of us are in that secure category but I like to say we have flavors. Right? Yeah.

Kevin Wallace: 12:42 And, you know, it sounds like, I mean, given the title, secure sounds like the more positive one. Yeah. But are we, you know, are we ever wanting to move from one attachment to the other? Or are we is it more about embracing what attachment you have, and in learning how to appreciate it for yourself and for your, the partner that you're either in relationship with, or you're trying to find,

Andi Bruhn: 13:08 okay, so we can earn security, quote, unquote, that's another fun phrase that we throw out there. Meaning that you get into a relationship in which you can both be in it and separate from it and be okay. So that would imply that we want to get to that point. But I don't, you know, I think it's important to realize you have to be in a healthy relationship to earn security, right. And so you have to know some stuff about yourself before you even have that chance. I think we have to get away from viewing it as like this super negative thing, right? So even if, let's say a dismissive person gets in a relationship with a secure person, and yeah, things go great. And now they're sharing some of their emotional self with this person more than they have in the past, but they're still probably never going to, like be Mr. PDA or miss PDA, you know, that it's just not going to happen. And I think that's, that's where we can use those things about ourselves and knowing those things to form healthier relationships. And I don't think people take the time to do that. Going back to that Disney thing, right? Everybody just wants to jump in and commit and find their soulmate. Yeah, like pump the brakes, figure out what you like and don't like yeah, and then and talking about dating and trial and error. And then you know, maybe think about committing. But you have to figure it out, you know? You got to know where you are on this attachment continuum to know what you want from somebody.

Kevin Wallace: 14:29 Yeah. And with the attachments are there any two that are like most ideally paired with the other when it comes to each each one? Or, do you want to typically try to find the person that has the same attachment style as you or is there one that mixes best with the other?

Andi Bruhn: 14:47 Yes and no, so there is what we would call the anxious avoidant trap, right, the anxious avoidant trap. So people who are secure or earned secure, you can go pretty much both sides of the equation, and people who are secure get pretty good at setting boundaries, right? Like I don't, I don't need you to respond to everything., but I need you to respond when you're, you know, when I'm worried about you, or whatever the case may be. But people in that dismissive position, they tend to attract the clingers. Yeah. Because it's a challenge or whatever opposites attract or whatever the case may be. But it seems to be the case that those opposites do attract. Yeah, they don't stick, turns out. And that's because the anxious person always wants more and the avoidant person is always threatened by that. Yeah. Right. And so the anxious, how can we work together? Let's say that they have fantastic communication skills, and they're gonna sit down and hammer it out. The preoccupied person is gonna say, how can we work together to make sure that we're spending more time together? Yeah. And the dismissive person, they might say that they're down for that, but they're going to sort of subconsciously subvert that every time that's just not what they're looking for. So it's called the anxious avoidant trap. Because we have this conversation all the time, and we are fundamentally different in relationships. I'm never gonna make you want to cuddle all day. Yeah, you're never gonna make me be okay with you taking off for two days, or whatever the case may be, you know, it's just, it's not a compatible match. It's just an neither person will ever feel like they're getting their needs met, the preoccupied person will always feel ignored and the dismissive person will always feel smothered. Okay. Now, but other than that, you know, I think the secure person could go either way, but I do think we've got flavors. Yeah. So like, for example, Kevin, let's say, are you married or in a relationship?

Kevin Wallace: 16:42 No

Andi Bruhn: 16:42 Okay. So let's say you go on a date tonight. Okay. And it's great date, right? Real good date. You're on your way home, you're thinking about that date and by the time you get home, you've got five text messages. How do you feel, Kevin?

Kevin Wallace: 16:54 Uhm. This is right after the date?

Andi Bruhn: 16:58 Right after the date?

Kevin Wallace: 17:01 Well, if the date went well, I guess that it could be kind of a comforting thing that it was affirming that maybe that person had a good time a good time in the date. That would be a lot though, probably, for the first date.

Andi Bruhn: 17:16 So Okay, fair enough. Just a true dismissive would have been like, I'm out. Yeah. So you entertained this right? And you're like, okay, so it's a good date. Okay. Yeah, maybe, maybe I'm okay with this. Right. A true dismissive is going five text messages? No, no, I'm done. Right. And that's fine. Yeah. You know, that's okay. As long as you know, five text messages is not trying to date, no text messages, you know, and so we have to, I think, so often, like, I read these things on the internet, it's like, Is my behavior in this relationship good, and, or bad? Or should I do this? Or should I? And it's like, who holds that answer? That should? Right? Like, are you happy in the relationship? Is the answer yes or no? Yeah. You know, and and why is that? You know, if the answer is yes, it's XYZ. If the answer is no, it's because of this. And that will guide you know, where you go from there.

Kevin Wallace: 18:09 Yeah. Yeah, that's, that's interesting, because it almost seems like a socially inappropriate thing, I guess, that. I mean, maybe it could be a thing of culture that is spoken into that idea that five text messages after a date is like, well, that person, you should probably just kind of move away from that. But maybe, I mean, like you said, my response wasn't like, what the heck, yeah, maybe it went really well and we both mutually enjoyed each other in conversation and had a good time. And that could be a comforting thing.

Andi Bruhn: 18:44 Yeah. And certainly, you know, I'm exaggerating for the sake of example, right? Yeah, I think it's telling it's a example. I've done quite a few times, you know, and I think the answer to it is telling and so just based on your answer, I'm like, ready to say that you lean preoccupied, right, like, because you're okay with it. And that's fine. And I don't like the we use the words preoccupied and dismissive. Because they already sound negative. Yeah. And it's like, Nah, like, Kevin's just a lover. That's all right. Like, why don't we call it that? But you know, it's, there's nothing wrong with it. We just have to know it. Right, like, so therefore, you're probably never going to be happy with somebody who doesn't return your phone calls or texts relatively promptly. And you shouldn't bang your head against the wall trying to date somebody who doesn't. Yeah, it doesn't. It's never gonna change. Yeah, and it's just gonna frustrate you.

Kevin Wallace: 19:35 That's great. And I'm sure there's tests out there to figure out who you what kind of attachment style you are. So is there I guess any kind of guidance in figuring out like a starting point for I mean, you can pay attention to that question that you just asked me and I'm sure you could kind of come up with

Andi Bruhn: 19:54 start to extrapolate. So you can google attachment style and you'll get way more than you bought For so you will find so many things you can attachment style assessment a more questions gonna get more accurate I, there's a book called attached and I want to give proper credit and yet I don't know who to give proper credit to I know that the doc what the main author's last name is Levine. So I'll throw that out there. Okay, it's an excellent book in terms of like, going to non therapists to read about attachment, and how it will affect your relationship. So it's not, you know, men are from Mars, Women are from Venus or whatever it's, but it is, with the lens of helping laypeople learn attachment and how it will affect their relationships. And that book, if you're interested, has a pretty extensive assessment in it, which is pretty good. And then it gives you kind of how to follow from that what might, you know, extrapolate what that might mean for your romantic relationships? But in terms of like, how do we find the real one? Like, it's, the attachment interview is a giant tool that it's like, nobody's even trained to conduct. So you're probably you're not gonna find the perfect answer, but you'll know your answer. And well, whether or not it feels right, you know? Yeah. Just based on you.

Kevin Wallace: 21:11 Yeah, based on, I mean, based on your experiences in your relationships, right? Your friendships, your, the your relationships with your family, any kind of dating relationships that you have had, they just kind of there in you, and they, they surface through encounters with people. So you feel that in your body and your mind, and like everything

Andi Bruhn: 21:34 We call, it's funny that you said that, because we actually call it an internal working model. So and we So based on your attachment from childhood, then you develop a kind of a roadmap for relationships, we call that the internal working model, which I think is sort of what you're trying to describe, you just feel it right. So you know, like, this is a relationship that I think that I can be in based on XYZ or not. And and it's is a lot of what that model is in our head. Yeah. And how we've worked with that model. Yeah.

Kevin Wallace: 22:07 And so we're all wired differently, some more closely than others and, and like you were saying, there are some more compatible than than others too. This break in the conversation is a reminder that The Good Ahead Podcast is brought to you by New Vista. New Vista is a community mental health center, caring for our Central Kentucky communities in the areas of mental health, substance use and intellectual and developmental disabilities. If you want to know more about New Vista's services, call our 24-Hour Helpline at 1.800.928.8000 or visit our website at www.newvista.org. Okay, back to the love chat with Andy Bruhn. Let's talk about this, the red flags, and what do you mean when you say that? And how do we know what to do when a red flag comes up? Like do we run the other way? Do we see it and be like, Oh, it's fine. Do we try to compromise? You know, what, what what? What do you do when a red flag comes up in a relationship?

Andi Bruhn: 23:22 So I actually had one of, I mean, I have lots of these conversations, by way of my job. But I had a similar conversation this morning. It was and so somebody was describing to me a situation in dating and it was like, that's to me, it seems to me that that's two red flags right off the bat. And they agreed and I said, So what do we do? And like why? And there was no answer for that. Right. So that I think is important. So I think one red flag we can we can, you know, if you are invested in you want to ignore a red flag. Maybe one but let's not like I heard recently, like, we don't need to collect them. Nobody. Nobody's reimbursing us for these red flags. Right? And so

Kevin Wallace: 24:02 And red flags being like these warning signs, I guess

Andi Bruhn: 24:05 So yeah. Red flags being things in relationships that just tip you off that something's Something's fishy. So let's see an example. I mean, example my conversation this morning, somebody had found out that this layer in the dating stage, and they had found out that this guy's name on Facebook is not his name. Right? Like that is a giant red flag. And, and why if you're in the dating stage, there's no commitment. There's no money invested. There's no children involved. Why are you I don't care how amazing they are.

Kevin Wallace: 24:36 Yeah, right why would you want to move forward into the, and deeper into commitment?

Andi Bruhn: 24:41 Right, you know, already that there's this this capacity for some level of dishonesty, right? And my name on Facebook's not my legal name either, right? So people have reasons, but why would you lie about it? Right? Like if we're meeting in person, and later you have to explain to me why your name's different, that's, that's a red flag, you know. And so the red flags being these warnings, something's off something's, something's not right here,

Kevin Wallace: 25:08 right? And kind of what you were mentioning earlier, it seems to be a bit of a trickle down effect, or there's more to these red flags than just that one time. Because, like you said, you could lie about your name on Facebook, but what else are you lying about?

Andi Bruhn: 25:23 Right? What does that mean? Yes, yes. And that's where I go. And so like, what, in the early stages, and I think this goes back to that Disney thing, we all we want to find this person, the soulmate. So we're, like, willing to just hang around for way too long. And we'll do what you know. And so, but it's interesting when people start talking, like my needs are getting met, and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. And they don't call me back, and yada, yada. And I'll just see what happens. Yeah. Why? Like, where has it gone so far, that you think that now it's going to change course. And there's, there's lots of fish in the sea, right. And so, I think that you take your attachment style, and you or your style and relationships, if we don't want to call it that. And then we work on like dating to find the complement to that, as opposed to, like dating because somebody says, Yes, you know, and so now I'm really gonna try to make it work with this person. And it's like, no, yeah. Don't do that. Don't do it to yourself. It's no fun. Yeah, right. It's no fun.

Kevin Wallace: 26:27 You're gonna make yourself miserable. And most likely, the other person miserable, right? In the process where there could very well be another person, the other fish in the sea.

Andi Bruhn: 26:38 Right? For both of you, right? It could be more compatible for both. Yeah, right. Yeah. Yeah. So there's, like, do I love my husband? Absolutely. 110%. He and I complement each other very well, not looking to get divorced. Do I think that he was sent here as the only person on this planet that I am possibly compatible with?

Kevin Wallace: 26:59 The only one for you.

Andi Bruhn: 27:01 The only one? You know? Don't tell him but I don't know that that's true. Right. I just, I just don't know how likely that is.

Kevin Wallace: 27:10 Yeah, that's good. Okay, so we've talked about red flags. What are, what's the importance of finding green flags, then?

Andi Bruhn: 27:17 Yeah, so I think history is our biggest teacher, right? And so that's, this is really important. And I would encourage anybody who's really trying to decide if they're going to start a relationship, like a committed relationship, to go through your past ones and figure out what what, in hindsight would have been a No, right? And what did you get from that person that was a Yes. And what would you have liked to get from that person? Yeah, that might have made that relationship different. Yeah. Right. So I think if you can answer those three questions about your past relationships, it'll show you what your green flags are. But my green flags are different from yours. Right? And they're different from anybody else who has a different relationship style. And so you have to figure that out for yourself. And sometimes, so you just just like, write it down, you know, take some time, go into a corner, a quiet place, reflect on Okay, so I know I, let's see, for me, somebody's got to, I need some verbal affirmation, right? I need somebody to tell me I'm great. At and so if I have, if I'm going to go out and be committed, and this guy that I'm looking at has never complimented me, that's never gonna work. Right. So you have to know those things about yourself. What is really important here, what do I really want? Yeah. And then use those that to guide your green flags. So it's just it's hard to answer that question as a whole. Yeah, but I think that as you are intentional, right? It'll come. But again, being intentional is half the battle because we all so badly want it to work.

Kevin Wallace: 28:51 Yeah. Yes. Right.

Andi Bruhn: 28:54 So it's attachment going back to the whole deal. Attachment is really biological. Yeah. Okay. So and I promise I'll get to why this matters in a second. But so like with dismissive babies, okay, we will take mom out of the room in these experiments that we do, which I'm not going to go into, but a dismissive child, their reaction is going to be nothing, right? When mom leaves the room, because they've learned that crying doesn't mean anything. Okay. And for a long time, we were like, Oh, they're just not affected. Until we got technology and we put, you know, heart rate monitors and respiratory monitors and all of that on these children and then we learned this kids freaking out. This kid is not okay. He has just learned not to cry. Yeah, he's got all of the same distress signals in his body, but He's not crying the way that this kid's crying.

Kevin Wallace: 29:43 So it's not externalized. But at a biological level, there's an immense amount of stress right found in this in this child

Andi Bruhn: 29:51 right when mom leaves yet they don't vocalize that at all, which has caused us to then extrapolate right that they've learned that nobody's coming right. No matter how much they cry, it doesn't matter, which is creates this dismiss. And you can make, you know, you can make sense out of how that creates an adult who doesn't want to talk about, you know, they don't want to cuddle and they don't want to talk about emotions, you know, that makes sense. So I think you have to be able to check in with some level of intuition, right? How do I feel about this, and if somebody and being accepting that. So like, I've made a point to say that some of these things aren't good or bad. And so if those five text messages excite you, yeah, that's not good or bad, but you need to know that, right? So you need to check in like, Okay, how is this behavior affecting me? And I think that's a really good question to ask yourself, in general, when you're trying to be self aware about anything, it's like, okay, I'm feeling blank, right? Where does that come from? So I think that's how you start, and then you just get better at it. Right. So like, as you identify these things, you, you start to just hone a better ability to know, I need a little more, a little more, and, or I need a little more space, you know, and you start to kind of know those things and, and will feel that, but there's a lot of self awareness involved. And I think that's, um, comes into asking yourself questions about, about core beliefs. And yeah, those kinds of things, you know, and what those might mean for you. But also just that, that feeling we need to know like, if you're feeling right, physically, biologically, you may not know if it's good or bad, you just know that all of a sudden, my heart rate is up, right? You got to slow down, stop. What does this mean for me? Why, you know, like, Am I happy? am I sad? Am I anxious? Am I excited? Stoke and stress look real similar on the outside, how it which is it? And sometimes you have to slow down to ask yourself that question. So I think you trial and error is a big part of it. And then I think self awareness is another part of it. Yeah. And then I you know, I'll use this soapbox to say that nobody should ever be putting anybody's hands on anybody. Right? It shouldn't happen. There's no reason for it. There's no place for it and a healthy relationship. Right. And so that's obviously the big red flag. It's never, you know, that's, again, if we don't have financial children, those kinds of entanglements, there's no space for any consideration after one of those things happens, right? No, you know, no abuse, the abuse, abusive relationship won't be healthy. Yeah, as a matter of fact, I, you know, therapists, ethical ones, will not do therapy, couples therapy in on an abusive relationship. And I shared that with a friend of mine a couple weeks ago, and she didn't know that. And so I think it's important for people to know that right?

Kevin Wallace: 32:50 Yeah, I'm not sure that's a very widely known thing that so the moment that therapists that are doing the couples counseling, the moment that they find out that it's that it's become physical, then they'll cut off therapy immediately.

Andi Bruhn: 33:05 Pretty much. Yeah. Or and sometimes, like, it doesn't even have to be physical, if we know that the abuse is there and it's emotional, or coercion or whatever, it becomes, no, no, we're not doing this together anymore. And you know, individual work would be what would be recommended at that point, and then maybe we can revisit this later. But you're not, you know, I don't care how good at my job I am. I'm not saving an abusive relationship, because it's abusive. Yeah. Period, underline, you know, and so I think that needs to be stated. Yes, yes, it bums me out that it needs to be stated, but I think it does.

Kevin Wallace: 33:42 Yes. Very, very important. And, you know, it doesn't it actually very unlikely would start out abusive like that. But I would, I would think that there's a culmination of those red flags that lead to the abuse. Yeah. So that's why these red flags are so important to notice as well.

Andi Bruhn: 34:04 Yeah, absolutely. And why I continue to like, I just harp on the whole if it's, you know, if you've got a handful of red flags, and no other reason to evaluate, yeah, then what are you doing? You're just making it more. You're just making it more difficult really to say goodbye. Yeah. Because it's, it's gonna happen in all likelihood, if you're looking at a big old list or red flags at some point that relationships probably ending. Yes. So do it now. Or do it later. It's gonna hurt both times. Yeah. But sticking out to gather some more red flags. Yeah. That's not gonna be good for anybody. No.

Kevin Wallace: 34:40 Well, okay, so kind of capping off the conversation. I think these are gonna be really important to0, what, what are indicators of a healthy relationship?

Andi Bruhn: 34:49 Hey, that's all that is a good note to end on. Right now. We talked about all of this stuff. Um, I think that authenticity is a big deal in life. That to mean that You should be able to show up however you are in whatever space. And I think that in a romantic relationship that has to be the case, right? So if you're ever feeling like you have to, especially Yeah, be somebody you're not right. For you know, and I know less about that from the dude's perspective, right. But from the girl's perspective, at some point, you ought to be able to feel like, I can go over there with no makeup on, right? I can go over there in my pajamas, or whatever the case may be, right? So being able to authentically show up or if you're upset, be unable to be upset. Right? And, and have that be okay. So I think authenticity is a really big deal. And if you're in a relationship with somebody, and you're you want to commit and you're feeling like you're acting at all, you need to stop, right? What is going on? Like, I, I want to commit to this person, and yet I don't feel like they know me fully. Yeah, that's not okay. So healthy relationships look like authenticity, they look like a host of emotions, they do not look like happiness all the time. And I don't want to, you know, make it sound like that's the case. Because they're not, you know, life throws things at people all the time, but they should be able to talk about them. So I guess communication would be something that I would really highlight as probably the number one thing, you know, you got to be able to talk about things authentically, right And honestly yes. And and recognize that, you know, if we disagree on this, it doesn't mean that there's no solution that we can come to that saves our relationship, quote, unquote, you know, like, there's probably something in the middle that we can talk out

Kevin Wallace: 36:34 Yeah there's some good compromise that you can meet in the middle, right? Most likely.

Andi Bruhn: 36:37 But usually people are too afraid to start the conversation.

Kevin Wallace: 36:40 Yeah, so you avoid it right and then there's always gonna be that thing in the back of your mind of like, Oh, don't want to go there.

Andi Bruhn: 36:45 Right. Or, or, you know, you know, when I was 14 years old, I was going through my first breakup, right. And it was, it was rough. Um, and I remember this so clearly, I could tell you, you know, if you were from California, I tell you exactly where I was. Because I remember in my head, and I'm crying, and my dad is driving me to my grandmother's house, and I'm going, but I love him. And my dad at my ripe old age of 14 said, Love is not enough. Which shattered me at 14. I shared this with him, like, 14, you have to share that with me? But it's true. And and so often, we go with that love thing. Like I feel so positively about this. Yeah. But you have to step out of that and realistically evaluate. So love is there, it is not the whole end all be all have a healthy relationship. I've seen lots of people in love who shouldn't be together totally. And and that's, you know, so we have to get beyond that. Check in with how we're feeling. Know that we can communicate about how we're feeling, show up authentically in these spaces. And if we ever feel like there's something we cannot say, or a way that we cannot be, then we're probably not in the right relationship

Kevin Wallace: 38:00 Yeah. And it's encouraging. It's intimidating, all of how complex humans are, you know, you take an individual self, and how the complexities of that person, then you bring in a whole another person, and then that opens up a world of complexity, and then trying to find out who who's going to be the right fit for those individual two individual people. So it can be a very long conversation. But this I think this will suffice for this episode. And I mean, more than suffice. So I find this stuff fascinating. And, you know, I think it's just really cool what you get to do on a daily basis getting to counsel people through that. So as an ending note, what what are some things and ways that that New Vista is able to speak into relationships and help individual people or couples through either the mess of their relationship or the starting points of I think I'm ready to get out there, but I don't know the starting point. You know, those different things, how you can New Vista come alongside of people and help them do that.

Andi Bruhn: 39:11 Okay, so first off in the SUD world, so I got to plug my, my, my hub a little bit we have, so we do a lot of different recovery things and we offer a smart friends and family that is kind of helpful in those kinds of things with our SUD clients, right, who their spouses/partners, maybe don't understand, don't know what's going on. These groups help to educate them help what's your role as a partner in of somebody in recovery, all that good stuff. New Vista as a whole. We've got clinicians everywhere. And I think one of the giant misconceptions because we've got, for the most part, LMFTS, that's me, right. And then we've got LCSW's, which are licensed clinical social workers, and then we've got LPCC's Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor, right. And so we all have a lot of initials and a lot of the misconception is that Like, if you want to talk about relationships, you gotta go, you gotta go find one of me. Right? You got to go find a LMFT. Not true, right. And similarly, I can talk about things that are not relationships. So I think it's in terms of how New Vista does this New Vista offers so many resources to people in terms of wellness fairs and health and so I think that taking advantage of the things that New Vista puts out in the community, that's half the battle, right. But then if you're being served by somebody, talk about this. We want, you know, so we also just want you to know, as therapists, we don't You don't need to come to us only when things are burning down around you. We were there for that, too. Yes. But if you want to have a little, how do I know I'm ready for a relationship conversation? That is a welcome part of our day. Yeah. And so things don't have to be bad to want to bring it up and therapy, you could just want to have that conversation. And so New Vista, obviously, I mean, we've just got an army of very talented clinicians, and I'm sure they'd all love to talk about that in in terms, if it's helpful for you where you're at in your journey. Do not be afraid to talk about these things. There's no topic off limits, we want to help you figure it out.

Kevin Wallace: 41:15 Yes, yep. So you can get connected to us our 24-Hour Helpline 1.800.928.8000 and we will connect you to the suitable services that you were looking for. Very easily. And, and so that's what we're here for. And so, well, Andi, thank you so much for coming on. Happy Valentine's Day to everyone. That's right. And we hope that this conversation serves you well in your romantic relationships. So thanks again, so much for for coming on.

Andi Bruhn: 41:47 Thanks Kevin.

Kevin Wallace: 41:52 Thank you for joining us in today's episode, just a reminder that this podcast is brought to you by New Vista. We assist individuals, children and families in the enhancement of their well being through mental health, substance use and Intellectual and Developmental Disability Services. We see the good ahead for all individuals in our communities. Again, if you need help, call our 24-Hour Helpline at 1.800.928.8000 or visit our website at www.newvista.org. We hope you enjoyed today's episode, and we'll see you next time